UWG News Item
UWG receives grant for safety initiatives
December 21, 2005
CARROLLTON, GA - The Department of Health Services at the University of West Georgia received a $15,000 Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Collaborative Safety Initiatives grant this semester. The grant will fund UWG safety programs for children and university students throughout the year.
It is the third GOHS grant awarded to UWG. Altogether the UWG and GOHS Collaborative Safety Initiatives has received a total of $52,000 for its safety programs and has been featured on the GOHS website for its accomplishments.
“We were one of three universities in the state asked to present at the recent state GOHS conference in October,” said Jill Hendricks, university services coordinator and patient advocate at Health Services.
“Given the news that Carroll County has one of the highest accident rates in the state, it’s good the community can see we are working to address this ongoing concern. We need to get the word out that December is a very dangerous month for youth and alcohol use.”
A primary focus of the grant-funded safety program is educating university students about alcohol poisoning and impaired driving. Several other bicycle and pedestrian safety programs are presented to local youngsters at summer camps hosted by the Department of Continuing Education.
Each year the university hosts a week of health and safety activities before spring break including alcohol education using the Fatal Vision goggles, which simulate varying degrees of intoxication. Fatal Vision goggles are used by educators to dispel any myths a university student may have about drinking alcohol. One myth some adhere to is that students drive better when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While wearing "drunk" goggles, students are asked to complete activities that require gross and fine motor skills and see how their reflexes and their judgment are greatly impaired when intoxicated.
Grant funding also makes it possible to bring nationally recognized speakers and trainers to campus to speak with faculty, staff, and students. This fall Brett Sokolow, a well known higher education legal consultant and author, spent two days at UWG training and teaching students and staff about campus safety.
Funds are also used to conduct annual student surveys on alcohol use and on media campaigns using posters, table tents and small gifts with safety messages on them.
Another campaign provides a list of the 10 top issues parents should discuss with their student on the drive home from orientation. Three of the topics on the list are related to alcohol use and university policies.
“We actively encourage parents to dialogue with their students about the dangers of alcohol abuse,” said Hendricks. “Talking about the issues helps students and parents to understand everyone’s concerns about the use of alcohol by young people.”
Funds finance the training of university students who serve as peer educators and who teach most of the classes. In addition to attending weekly trainings with a staff health educator, these students are provided opportunities to attend state, regional and national conferences on related topics. Staff and student educators have attended conferences in Chicago, Orlando, Washington DC, Indianapolis and Baltimore.
For more information on the free safety programs offered by the Department of Health Services call 678-839-0641.